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Guide to Snare Drums

Snare Drum : What is it?

Snare Drums

Snare drums, also called side drums, produce short cracking sounds using a series of curled snares along the bottom head. The snares may be made of metal wires, gut cords, or plastic cables. When the drum is struck, the snares vibrate against the floor and walls of the drum, creating a distinct snap. Snare drums are included in most drum kits and are used in almost all forms of contemporary music.

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Types of Snare Drums

Snare DrumsSnare Drums

Kinds of Snare Drums include the following:

Jazz snare drums

Jazz snare drums are 14 inches wide and five to six inches deep. They are usually made of brass or wood and played with brushes instead of sticks. They have light to moderately textured heads to reduce muffling.

Rock snare drums

Rock snare drums have a diameter of 14 inches and a depth of 5.5 to eight inches. They are usually made of stainless steel for a louder sound audible over electric guitars and other large instruments. They provide slight muffling with heavy coated drumheads.

Metal snare drums

Metal snare drums are 13 to 14 inches wide and six to eight inches deep. Smaller models are often referred to as power piccolos. They are usually made of aluminum, brass, and bronze, or synthetics such as acrylic and carbon fiber. They have a brighter timbre and higher volume than other snare drums.

Punk snare drums

Punk snare drums measure 14 inches across and 5.5 to six inches deep. They have roughly the same volume as hi-hat cymbals. They are available in different heads and tuning types, and are often easily configured.

Funk snare drums


Funk snare drumsare generally small, measuring 13 to 14 inches across with varying depths. They have a highly accented and stressed sound characterized by a high crack. Their heads are tightly tuned to maintain crack while providing a full-bodied sound. 

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Choosing Snare Drums (Buying tips)

Snare wires: Choose a snare drum with metal wire snares for a more audible sound. Make sure they are properly coiled around th bottom with no loose ends or segments. Look for lacquer-coated wires to protect against corrosion and wear without altering their pitch.

Size:
Choose a large snare drum for a deeper crack and more volume, and a smaller one for a higher pitch. Wider drumheads will allow more volume control, but may not fit into standard drum kit stands. 

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